Manila, Philippines — Philippine-based computer hackers blackmailed an American teenager with a humiliating video and got him to pawn his family’s jewels worth over US$100,000 (4.3 million pesos) to send them money, according to reports.
The hackers obtained the video by tricking 17-year-old Hector Hernandez into installing a “rat” virus that allows them to turn on his computer’s webcam without him knowing, said a report by Fox News. Rat stands for ‘remote access tool’ and allows hackers to gain unauthorized control of your computer.
The group threatened to release the video to Hernandez’s entire Facebook friends and to his school’s website if he did not pay up.
Hernandez then stole his family’s jewels from his mother, worth about US$100,000, pawned them for just US$1,500, and began wiring money to the hackers in the Philippines. He told Fox News they kept asking for more and more money.
The family was planning to sell the jewels to finance his education.
A screenshot from Fox News revealed the identity and location of the cyber extortionist, according to reports.
He finally told his mother what was happening when the hackers continued to ask for more money.
Following the incident, Hernandez warned users to turn off their computers when not in use.
“When you are not using your computer or laptop, unplug your webcam or close your laptop so your webcam doesn’t get turned on,” Hernandez told Fox.
The rat virus is now making rounds on the internet, say reports.
The virus uses subtle HTML trickery to gain remote access to a computer’s webcam, said the IT news website TechCrunch. Image/infoniac.com